BCCI President-in-exile N Srinivasan Friday tendered an "unconditional apology" in the Supreme Court for "breaching" its direction by chairing the Board's working Committee meeting on February 8 and deciding to hold its AGM on March 2 to elect new office bearers.
Closing the contempt petition against him, the court allowed Srinivasan to exercise the vote of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) as its authorised representative in the BCCI election in Chennai. Srinivasan also gave an undertaking that he will not preside over the March 2 Annual General Meeting or any other such meetings till the time the January 22 judgement prevents him from participating in any decision making meetings.
"I have an instruction to say that I (Srinivasan) will not preside over the meeting. Let it be whosoever who will preside," senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the beleaguered cricket administrator, submitted at the outset before a bench comprising Justices T S Thakur and F M I Kalifulla.
The bench noted the submission of Sibal that "Srinivasan has realised that his act of presiding over the working committee meeting of February 8 was not well advised" and in no way his intention was to defy the court orders. However, the apex court did not agree with the Cricket Association of Bihar that being the President of the TNCA Srinivasan should be barred from participating in the March 2 AGM for electing new office bearers of the BCCI. It accepted the submission of Sibal that he can be authorised by the TNCA to vote on its behalf which was valid as per the rules. It was made clear that Srinivsan would not be participating in the AGM as the President of the BCCI or as the President of the TNCA. "His presence in the AGM if authorised by the TNCA should not be treated as breach of the January 22 judgement," Sibal said.
He said there should be a clear order from the apex court whether Srinivasan was entitled for voting as the authorised representative of the TNCA as he did not want to face further embarrassment of second contempt proceedings.
Taking note of the submission, the bench said "we see no reason to deny TNCA the right to exercise its franchise and cast vote. That exercise is permissible to TNCA authorising anyone to cast vote including specific authorisation to Srinivasan to cast vote on its behalf." The bench also clarified that it was not going beyond the issues raised in the contempt petition filed by Aditya Verma, Secretary of the CAB.
"In our opinion Srinivasan has offered unconditional apology for presiding over the BCCI's working committee meeting. We are inclined to close the proceedings on the contempt petition by accepting his apology," the bench said adding that other questions are "premature" at this stage.
Senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram, appearing for the CAB, submitted Srinivasan was covered under the definition of administrator to be barred from even functioning as the member of the any cricket body as per the apex court judgement.
She submitted that participating in the BCCI meeting as a TNCA President was also a contempt. During the hearing, Sibal answered the questions of the bench as to why Srinivasan presided over the working committee meeting by saying that it was a bonafide mistake but on reconsideration of the matter, the embattled cricket administrator realised that he should not have presided.
The CAB had alleged that Srinivasan held a meeting of BCCI's working committee to decide on holding Annual General Meeting in March in alleged violation of the apex court directions. The apex court had said that the conflict of interest has arisen between what is Srinivasan's duty as BCCI President on the one hand and his interest as father-in-law of Gurunath Meiyappan and owner of IPL team Chennai Super Kings on the other.
The CAB contended that Srinivasan continued to have commercial interest in the IPL matches of BCCI and hence he was disqualified from holding the post of BCCI President and President of TNCA.